The Gospel Observer (February 17, 2019)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Kindness (John Thompson)
2) What is “The Septuagint”? (Bill Crews)
3) News & Notes
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eph4_32

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Kindness
John Thompson

A commodity lacking in the world today is kindness. While it is impossible to prove that there is less kindness practiced now than previously, one must admit that we could use much more of it. A universal recognition of the need for more kindness is evident by the speed with which certain phrases have caught on and developed lives of their own. For example, in 1988 George W. Bush used the expression “a kinder and gentler nation” during his presidential campaign. Not long after, the phrase was seen throughout the world in advertisements and company slogans. It quickly became part of everyday speech. It caught on because kindness was more the exception than the rule.

Another expression, “random acts of kindness,” has become so popular that it now refers to a social movement. It originated with the phrase “practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” written by Anne Herbert on a placemat in Sausalito, California in 1982. The phrase, or some variation of it, soon began to appear on bumper stickers. In 1993 Herbert’s book with the same title was published. In it she recounted stories of people who had either provided or received such kindness. This was her attempt to steer people away from what has been described as random violence and acts of senseless cruelty.

An internet search of “random acts of kindness” shows how far the phrase has come. For instance, the website randomactsofkindness.org offers several options: one can become inspired by accessing the latest kindness ideas, quotes, videos and more; educators can download free K-8 kindness lesson plans and projects; one can take on a more direct role by becoming a Raktivist (a Random Acts of Kindness activist); and, of course one can sign up for the Kind blog. Too numerous to list are additional internet resources for those interested in learning more about kindness, how to employ it in their own lives, and how to encourage it in the lives of others.

The very definition of random acts of kindness exposes the belief that kindness is rare. “A random act of kindness is a non-premeditated, inconsistent action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world.” Non-premeditated means that kindness happens as the result of a spur-of-the-moment thought rather than as the result of careful planning and intention. One acts kindly when the thought just pops into one’s head, or when it seems like a good idea at the time. Inconsistent means that given the same or similar set of circumstances, there is no guarantee that one will act kindly the next time. Either way, non-premeditated or inconsistent, the implication is that kindness is not the norm, and when it happens it is such an unusual event that it ought to be publicized and honored.

Anne Herbert, were she still living, and all of her followers might be shocked to learn that she neither invented kindness nor began a movement to heighten people’s awareness of it. Those honors belong to God. God is a kind and loving God. His kindness and love are so great and work so well together to the eternal benefit of mankind that they are frequently designated by one word in the Bible. The Psalmist said in Psalm 63:3, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” Just as God is love, so God is kind. Consequently, His kindness is as eternal as His love. It is not just kindness, but lovingkindness, kindness permeated with love; a kindness not given for God’s benefit, but for man’s benefit.

Since man was created in the image of God, humans have a built-in capacity for kindness. God intended kindness to be man’s way of life. There was no hint of unkindness between Adam and Eve in the garden until the serpent deceived Eve into sinning. Ever since, virtually everyone has believed, to some degree, the lie that unkindness has its proper place in human behavior. I don’t believe there is anything about which humans are more ambivalent than they are about kindness. On the one hand we desperately long for more of it in the world, yet we do not want to give up the “right” to be just as unkind as we think we need to be at certain times. We fully subscribe to the principle of doing unto others what we want done to us yet seek revenge with great zeal.

Kindness can indeed be abundant and universally practiced, not by going to a web site and signing up for access to a kindness blog, but by becoming well-schooled by the lessons on kindness contained in God’s Word. The Law of Moses was so much more than a law of “eye for eye and tooth for tooth.” It was a law of fairness and kindness. Those who extended kindness expected kindness in return. Those in positions of authority were to be kind to those subject to them. In 1 Samuel 20 David fled from an enraged King Saul. The friendship of he and Jonathan is sorely tested at this time. David feared for his life from Saul, and Jonathan feared for his life should David become more powerful. He says to David, “But if my father intends to harm you, may the LORD deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the LORD be with you as he has been with my father, But show me kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, unfailing kindness like the LORD’s and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the LORD has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” Kindness that is unfailing is constant and reliable, dependable, steadfast, steady, and sure, just like the Lord’s. It is neither unpremeditated or inconsistent.

Kindness is to permeate every action and thought of God’s people from loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31), to loving your enemies and doing good to those who persecute you (Matthew 5:34-38); from looking to the interests of others and considering others better than yourself (Philippians 2:3-4), to living quietly minding your own affairs (1 Thessalonians 4:11). The last half of Ephesians 4 is a treatise on all of the evil things one lets go of by putting on a new life in Christ, things like falsehood, anger, violence, theft, corrupting talk, bitterness, wrath, clamor, slander, and malice. The last verse of chapter 4 summarizes that new life by stating “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). The world can use random acts of kindness, but what it really needs are more Christians who are kind like the Lord is kind.

— Via University Heights Messenger,  June 24, 2018, Volume 10, Number 26
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Septuagint

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What is “The Septuagint”?
Bill Crews

The word “Septuagint” is from a Greek word meaning “seventy.” It is sometimes referred to as the “LXX,” the Roman numerals that mean  “seventy.”  The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament books. It was made by a number of Jewish scholars (supposedly, seventy of them) in Alexandria, Egypt (a very Greek city founded by Alexander the Great, and in which many Jews lived). And it was made in the third century B.C. The arrangement of the Old Testament books in present-day translations, and even their titles, were influenced far more by the Septuagint translation than by the original Hebrew books as kept and arranged by the Jews. The words, “Genesis,” “Exodus,” “Deuteronomy,” and “Ecclesiastes” are from Greek, not Hebrew. New Testament quotations in the Greek are usually from the Septuagint translation.

— Via The Roanridge Reader, February 10, 2019, Volume 34, Issue 06, Page 03
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News & Notes

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of Arthur Laverne Robertson who passed away last Monday, February 11, at just 71 years of age.

The stitches have been removed from Pat Joyner’s surgery; but she had to return to the hospital every week, due to not healing properly.  She also had extensive repair on her right leg, and is now waiting on an appointment to surgically remove a cyst that has been giving trouble.  Due to having to sit with her legs elevated has also been painful for her; but she hopes to be back with us in two weeks if she can walk well enough.  She thanks every one “for the uplifting cards & great food” and also writes, “It has done my heart good. It helped me crawl out of that deep hole I was in.” Pat continues to want our prayers.

Others to also be praying for: the family and friends of Eddie Fullard; A.J. Joyner, Jim Lively, Anita Young, Doyle Rittenhouse, Bennie & Deborah Medlock, James Medlock, Melotine Davis, Shirley Davis, Mary Vandevander,  Michelle Rittenhouse, Marilyn Roberts, John Stoval, Everleigh and Hazel Greer,  Danny Hutcheson, Roger Montgomery, Mary Aldrich, Rex & Frankie Hadley, and Tommy Lin

There will be a fifth annual congregational singing at the Hoboken church of Christ this Saturday (February 23), beginning at 5 p.m.  The church meets at 5101 Main Street, Hoboken, Georgia.  All are invited.
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“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11, NASB).
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Tuesday: 2 p.m. (Ladies’ Bible class)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com
https://thegospelobserver.wordpress.com (Gospel Observer website with pictures in WordPress)
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://tebeaustreetchurchofchrist.org/
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermon)

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